My first taste of science came through in 2003 thanks to an undergraduate research scholarship (awarded by the ASAB), which allowed me to work on sperm competition and chemical communication in beetles. This experience immediately got me hooked on the feeling of playing detective with nature, and I fell in love with animal behaviour. I graduated in Biology from the University of Valencia in 2004, and in 2005 went on to conduct a PhD on social communication in lizards at the University of Valencia, under the supervision of Dr. Enrique Font at his Ethology Lab in Valencia. I finished my PhD in June 2010. Later that same year, I received a 6-month Post Doc Endeavour Award to work on lizard cognition with Dr. Martin Whiting as part of his incredible The Lizard Lab at Macquarie University (Sydney). This proved to be an amazing experience, and I was very sad to leave Australia. However, in August 2011 I won a Lectureship at the faculty of Biology of the University of Valencia and established myself at the Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, where I collaborate with Dr. Enrique Font working in cognition and communication in lizards. On June, I temporally suspended my lectureship to take up a Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Oxford, where I will work with Dr. Tommaso Pizzari’s group at the Edward Grey Institute on sexual conflict and ageing in beetles (back to the origins!).
Senescence is an irreversible, age-dependent decline in the survival and reproductive success of an individual, and it is an almost universal feature of multicellular organisms. Despite long-term interest in senescence, many fundamental issues regarding its evolution and persistence in the face of Darwinian selection remain unresolved. Perhaps one of the most complex aspects of senescence in sexually reproducing organisms is determined by the fact that Darwinian selection on senescence rates acts differentially in males and females. Recent theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that sexual conflict can drastically influence patterns of senescence by acting as both a catalyst of and a constraint to the evolution of sex-specific life histories. Unfortunately, senescence theory has largely neglected sexual conflict, while theory of sexual conflict has only begun to consider senescence. Our work will investigate the relationship between sex-specific patterns of senescence and sexual conflict in an invertebrate model species, Tribolium castaneum. The reproductive biology, mating system and reproductive behaviours of T. castaneum are well characterized and this species has recently emerged as an ideal model organism for evolutionary studies and particularly for studies of sexual conflict and sexual selection.
Selected Recent publications
Font, E., Barbosa, D., Sampedro, C. & Carazo, P. 2012. Social behaviour, chemical communication, and adult neurogenesis: Studies of scent mark function in Podarcis wall lizards. General and Comparative Endocrinology, Published online.
Font, E., Carazo, P., Pérez i de Lanuza, G. & Kramer, M. 2012. Predator-elicited foot shakes in wall lizards (Podarcis muralis): evidence for a pursuit-deterrent function. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126, 87-96.
Carazo, P., Font, E. & Desfilis, E. 2011. The role of scent marks in female choice of territories and refuges in a lizard (Podarcis hispanica). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 125, 362-365.
Carazo, P., Molina-Vila, P. & Font, E. 2011. Male reproductive senescence as a potential source of sexual conflict in a beetle. Behavioural Ecology, 22, 192-198.
Font, E., Carazo, P. 2010. Animals in translation: why there is meaning (but probably no message) in animal communication. Animal Behaviour, 80, e1-e6.
Carazo, P., Font, E. 2010. Putting information back into biological communication. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23, 661-669.
Carazo, P., Font, E., Forteza-Behrendt, E. & Desfilis, E. 2009. Quantity discrimination in Tenebrio molitor: evidence of numerosity discrimination in an invertebrate? Animal Cognition, 12, 463-470.
Carazo, P., Font, E. & Desfilis, E. 2008. Beyond ‘nasty neighbours’ and ‘dear enemies’? Individual recognition by scent marks in a lizard (Podarcis hispanica). Animal Behaviour. 76, 1953-1963.
Carazo, P., Font, E. & Desfilis, E. 2007. Chemosensory assessment of rival competitive ability and scent mark function in a lizard (Podarcis hispanica). Animal Behaviour. 74, 895-902.
Carazo, P., Font, E. & Bjorn, A. 2007. Chemosensory assessment of sperm competition levels and the evolution of internal spermatophore guarding. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 274 (1607), 261 – 267.
You can find more information about my research here (http://paucarazo.com/).